Why your R&D Team Needs an Accountability Partner for Long-Term Success

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Why your R&D Team Needs an Accountability Partner for Long-Term Success

Innovation is a challenge, and it’s not easy for Boards globally to keep track of the long-term goals, objectives, and strategies.

It’s even harder to keep the team on track and focused on the right things.

There are several ways that you can help your research and development team stay on track, but the most effective way is to hire an accountability partner. An accountability partner is someone who is dedicated to helping your R&D team focus on the right things and keep them on track.

An R&D accountability partner is someone who understands and utilizes proven methodologies on tracking, measuring, and reporting a strategic R&D plan through the whole journey from concept through to manufacturing.  He or she would understand the financial impact of product development projects and return on investment (ROI).

Confidentiality is a critical feature of this role due to its strategic and commercial implications.

An accountability partner can help your team by:

  • Helping you and the team manage the long-term objectives and strategies
  • Providing insight about the progress of the team and their work
  • Helping you and the team set milestones and deadlines
  • Providing advice about how to manage the team
  • Helping you and the team stay focused on the right things
  • Helping you and the team identify roadblocks

How can an accountability partner help your R&D team manage the long-term objectives and strategies?

An accountability partner can help you and the team manage the long-term objectives and strategies by keeping them organized. They can help you and the team keep track of the strategies and objectives by providing regular updates about the progress. An accountability partner can also help your team set objectives and strategies that are aligned to the organisational goals and objectives, and identify which strategies need to be modified to achieve the desired results.

How can an accountability partner provide insight into the progress of the team and their work?

An accountability partner can provide insight to the Board about the progress of the team and their work by helping you and the team create a timeline for the objectives. This helps the Board to understand how much time will be needed for each objective and how that timeframe fits into the overall timeline. An accountability partner can also help by providing regular updates about the progress of a project, and by identifying roadblocks.

Helping you and the team set milestones and deadlines:

An accountability partner can help you and the team set milestones and deadlines by providing regular updates about the progress of a project. An accountability partner can also help by identifying roadblocks in terms of complexity, time, costs, etc., that could affect the project and how to solve these. An accountability partner can also help by providing immediate feedback about the milestones and deadlines that are being set for the project.

Providing advice about how to manage the team:

An accountability partner can provide advice about how to manage the team by providing feedback on aspects of the project that could affect the team’s morale. An accountability partner can also provide advice about how to motivate the team, and help with conflict resolution.

How can an accountability partner help you and the team stay focused on the right things?

An accountability partner should be able to provide a clear focus and direction for the team to follow. They should be able to provide you with a vision of the ideal outcome that is motivating, inspiring and can act as a rallying point for the team.

How can an accountability partner help you and the team identify potential roadblocks?

Roadblocks are an inevitable feature of R&D, as is uncertainty. An accountability partner should help you and the team identify potential roadblocks by working with you and the team to identify risks and uncertainties.

 

Innovolo’s managed innovation services offers an accountability partner service to help your R&D team stay on track.

If you’re interested in learning more about the accountability partner service, then visit https://innovolo.co.uk/managed-innovation-as-a-service

 

8 Major Benefits of an R&D accountability partner for the Board

1. Accountability

The ability to understand the team’s health and performance, track the progress of each project, and ensure that the right strategies are being implemented by the team.  An accountability partner is a great way of holding your R&D team accountable for their project, and making sure their work is aligned with your organisation’s vision and strategic objectives.

2. Focus and Direction

A clear vision of where the R&D team needs to take the product, and how to achieve that.  R&D teams are by definition full of ideas and oftentimes they are able to envision the end goal.  However, as a Board, you will want to ensure that the team has a clear direction to work towards.  Without this will inevitably mean that the team will get ‘shiny object syndrome’ where they get distracted from their work at hand, ultimately costing you money and time.

3. Managing the Team

An R&D accountability partner can help you and the team manage the team dynamics, motivation, and conflict resolution.  There is a lot of potential for conflict and arguments in R&D teams, especially if you have a multi-disciplinary team working on the same project.  The accountability partner will help you manage the team, and ensure that conflict is addressed effectively.  This will ultimately help the team function more effectively, and help the team reach its goals.

4. Improving Performance

By helping you and the team set objectives, the accountability partner can help you to improve performance in your organisation’s R&D team.  Setting expectations and standard ways of working with your team can increase the team members’ productivity and therefore the ROI of your R&D.

5. Innovation

R&D accountability partners work towards improving the innovation and creativity of the team by providing a vision, and helping you and the team to identify potential roadblocks, and providing a point of escalation to the Board.

6. Financial Management

Helping you and the team manage the financial implications of each project, accountability partners are concerned with the purse strings of the team.  With eyes firmly fixed on the ROI of each project, accountability partners will help you to maintain a clear financial picture from a Board level.

7. Communication

Maintaining clear lines of communication between the Board and the R&D team is critical yet so often overlooked.  Accountability partners are able to provide you with a broad overview and understanding of what is going on in this area of the business (which is actually a very strategic one).

8. Organisational fit

Helping you and the team identify potential organisational fit issues between R&D, Sales, Marketing, and Manufacturing, accountability partners can provide the mentorship and coaching that is required to ensure that all the teams (from whatever discipline) work together in harmony and to one end goal.

 

An R&D accountability partner can be described as someone who is a Board level colleague of the Head of R&D, CTO, or CIO.

The accountability partner needs to be able to effectively communicate between the Board and the R&D team, understand the practicality of R&D projects, and be able to identify potential roadblocks. The accountability partner should be a senior and experienced engineer, technologist, or scientist who will ensure that the R&D team is on track.

R&D is the foundation for any great company, and it needs to be managed effectively to establish a long-lasting and profitable business.

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